Disclaimer: Under no circumstances do I claim to be an authority on personalities or any of this shit-including my own. This is really just an opinion piece with a smattering of sources and my own anecdotal evidence. Read completely at your own risk.
There are many articles on what ISTP women are supposed to be like, but very few really get up close and personal about it. ISTPs are said to make up about 5% of the American population and of that sample, around 8% are men. So with only 2% of the sample being women, finding like-minded gals to chill with can feel a lot like hunting a unicorn. I don’t know what the exact stats are for Canada, but (1) I imagine they’re similar and (2) there’s no way I was going to look this up when that isn’t the point of this post. (Sorry, not sorry).
Let’s get right to it.
ISTP stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. You can read up on this and the other 15 types here. It is probably that thinking preference why women with this personality type are severely underrepresented. That is not to say that women don’t think. This poorly labelled behavioral preference has to do with how you make decisions: from the head or from the heart. Women, stereotypically (and probably in general), tend to make decisions from the heart. What feels right, what would be the best for everyone, taking people and feelings into consideration. Let’s be real here: women who don’t do this much or at all are looked at sideways. We’re “mean,” “aggressive,” “cold,” and a host of other adjectives meant to paint us as rogue elements of society who don’t fit. This happens to ISTP/INTP women and the reverse happens to INFJ/ISFJ men (usually seen as “soft,” “weak,” “too friendly”).
I’m sure other types experience some amount of this, but these four categories are supposedly among the more rare ones.
Life of an anomaly.
So, what is is like to be me, an ISTP woman?
ISTP women come in all kinds of flavors. You’ve got the lazy, the ambitious, the average, the attractive, the simple, the smart, and everyone in between; just as with any of the other personality indicators. What does set ISTP gals apart is this distinctly in-the-moment, hard edge to our vibes that gets us pegged as incredibly intimidating and far flung from the outer edges of acceptable feminine behavior. We are the women who were pulling worms out of the front lawn when we were girls. We were the ones doing wheelies with our bikes and probably had to be told to “sit like a lady” more times than we cared to count.
We only wore dresses to church and didn’t have much use for dolls except to figure out how to braid hair, since we love anything we can do with our hands. We never had a day where we had to wait for dad to come home to fix our bikes because we already figured out that the chain needed oil or that the brakes just needed a quick turn of a screw to tighten. We had bug collections and were quietly really bossy. The other girls either giggled at us or made us be the “husband” or “brother” or “son” when engaged in all-female group games of “House.” A perfectly formal outfit for us was some jeans and a t-shirt.
Some of us didn’t see boys as remotely interesting romantically until late in our teens. Like, 18 and older. They were just too much fun to ruin with something as hard to deal with as feelings and emotions.
We grew up to be the women who run into trouble with boyfriends for many reasons. Some feel like we’re one of the homies to the point where they start to lose romantic feelings and forget we’re still GIRLfriends and NOT a prettier version of one of the boys. Others feel like “less of a man” since there’s nothing for them to do for us (so they think) after we done went and repaired everything in the house and killed all the spiders and somehow figured out how to get under the car and fix that too.
Somehow, we’re the ones with mostly (platonic) guy friends for the same reason.
We’re the ones who unintentionally rub male managers the wrong way when we pipe up in meetings with a blunt list of pros and cons to the latest proposal. We’re the ones who blow a fuse when assigned to make the coffee and get everyone’s lunch orders after we hauled our school-hating asses through uni to get the degree that was supposed to save us from that fate.
We’re the girls with one or maybe two female friends because most of them end up saying that we sound way too much like their boyfriends to be any real fun. We CAN get dolled up and look sexy with the best of them, but most of the time we just…don’t. Sneakers over heels, bruh! Besides, you can’t jump fences or climb trees in a dress. How inconvenient. We’re the ones who pose like underwear models for pictures because we’re already that adorably stiff and awkward most of the time anyway. We like video games, off-color jokes, outdoor activities, and anything that goes VROOM VROOM. We’re the ones who would rather drive on the highway because the start-and-stop horror of local roads is mind-numbingly boring and repetitive.
We very much live in the moment and yet are (hilariously) attracted to dreamers who would rather muse for hours about what things are going to look like in 2045 and their “10-year plan.” Truth be told, we need those people in our lives, because we’re pretty busy trying to figure out the best use of the next 30 seconds and deciding that it’s absolutely crucial to hop in the car and buy bread and toilet paper RIGHT NOW because it’s 10 am and everyone is at work, so there won’t be a line.
(Perfect pairing, if you ask me).
Of course, personality is fluid. We all change how we act to suit different people, environments, and situations. That’s totally normal. But, we do tend to have a preference-the way we are when not under direct pressure to act in some other way. ISTP women could choose to sit back and let a partner do things she could totally do herself or choose to get up and put on makeup and girly clothes every other as a compromise or to achieve some end. I often do. There will still be that person inside who just wants to pull on a pair of sweats, put her hair in a bun, and challenge her besties to a race across the big rocks by the harbourfront.
Or start a workout group based on winning a cash pot.